AMES, Iowa ― The Pocahontas County and Webster County Master Gardeners have received the 2018 Search for Excellence award for their work in their communities. The Search for Excellence award is given annually by the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Master Gardener program.
“The ISU Extension and Outreach Master Gardener program is glad to give this award to two deserving groups of volunteers,” said Susan DeBlieck, Master Gardener assistant coordinator with ISU Extension and Outreach. “They join more than a dozen counties who have been honored with this award since 2013.”
The Pocahontas County Master Gardeners were presented their award for excellence in the workshop or presentation category.
Master Gardeners in Pocahontas County hosted their annual Garden Extravaganza, which saw them lead classes and workshops on gardening topics that included beekeeping, native perennials, tree pruning, and flower and vegetable gardening. They also oversaw an expo that saw 30 venders showcase plants, artwork, tools and supplies related to gardening. Up to 400 people attend the event each year, which also has helped to grow the county’s Master Gardener membership.
“Pocahontas County Master Gardeners have been putting on this workshop in their community since 2007, increasing the amount of research-based horticulture information available to their community,” DeBlieck said. “They provide a valuable resource to support gardening in rural Iowa.”
Master Gardeners in Webster County were awarded for their work in the youth garden category, in which they partnered with local 4-H clubs to tend to the historic Frontier Garden at the Fort Museum in Fort Dodge. In the process, the Master Gardeners were able to teach gardening and the history of gardening to 4-H members in Webster County.
As part of the project, Master Gardeners talked to visitors at the Fort Museum about growing and preserving food in the 1850s while researching and finding varieties of plants to grow that represent a garden in the 1850s.
“This project is a great collaboration between Master Gardeners and 4-H,” DeBlieck said. “This garden provides a look into how food was grown in the past, while helping mentor our next generation.”